The Undead No-Suicide Brother in Minneapolis

Affidavit of Death-300x200For all of my readers who often skim through paragraphs of my Sacramento real estate blog, let me start by clarifying that my brother is undead and did not die by suicide. He may be dying from stage 4 cancer, which was a bit of a shock to me, but he is still alive. The strange thing is I was thinking about him a few days ago while I was out in our 106-degree heat, riding my bicycle around William Land Park and listening to Gram Parsons / Emmy Lou through my Bluebuds. We were pretty inseparable as kids — a year apart. People used to think we were twins.

But then as things sometimes go in families, we drifted apart. It wasn’t a slow separation, my brother just decided at some point during his marriage that he no longer wanted to associate with his parent’s side of the family. Nobody knows why. We exhausted efforts to turn him around. It’s one of those things that one finally accepts that cannot be changed.

Which goes to show it wasn’t a completely odd reaction from me after a pair of detectives appeared yesterday morning on my sister’s doorstep in Minneapolis. I believe they were from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s department. The police told my sister our brother is dead. Committed suicide. Said he jumped off the Ford Bridge over the Mississippi. Since the river divides Minneapolis from Saint Paul, the body had drifted to the Saint Paul side, which was why Ramsey County health authorities or the Saint Paul Police department were also involved in the investigation.

My sister was sobbing. I was in shock. My brother committed suicide? Nobody in our family died by suicide. Although, everybody’s family is dysfunctional in some way.

Now, the Ford Bridge is by 46th Street, which runs near my brother’s home in south Minneapolis. It was conceivable. The detectives said he left his bike and guitar on the bridge. I could see that. My husband found a website set up for donations to help with my brother’s medical bills, but the funding had been cut off a few weeks ago. That’s how we found out he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. A phone number at the bottom belonged to a woman. I called, she answered; I mentioned that she had my maiden name so we were probably related.

The woman appeared a bit annoyed and impatient. I tried to be calm and sensitive. Turns out she is my brother’s son’s wife. I asked if she was sitting down because I didn’t know if she was driving or what. I did not correct her, btw, when she said my brother has 4 sisters, which he does not. I quietly shared the news I had received about his death. She choked. Then hammered me for details. Promised to call me back after she spoke to her mother-in-law. But she never called. She must have found out immediately after my call that my brother was undead, but she didn’t tell me.

Later in the day, my sister called to say she had finally reached my sister-in-law and, surprise, my brother was sitting right there. Undead. He was now the no-suicide brother. The police had mixed him up with some other bridge jumper. How bizarre is that? You can’t trust the police when they show up on your doorstep to deliver the news a relative has died? All that emotional upheaval. Of course, it doesn’t change the fact my brother is still dying, probably very soon.

My sister asked if she could see our brother. It doesn’t look like that will happen.

It seemed appropriate to watch another episode of Fargo, the TV series. Just wait until his family starts searching online for an Affidavit of Death.


Subscribe to Elizabeth Weintraub\'s Blog via email

Sorry we are experiencing system issues. Please try again.